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New City Catechism - Question 24
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Posted by Taryl Jasper, Cornerstone elder

New City Catechism - Question 24


Q24: Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?


A: Since death is the punishment for sin, Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God. By his substitutionary atoning death, he alone redeems us from hell and gains for us forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and everlasting life.

KIDS’ ANSWER: Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God.



1 Peter 3:18: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,



Ephesians 2:13-18; Colossians 1:21-22; Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21



This is one question that we should all love to hear and be prepared to answer. I delighted in hearing the question from young students in my Sunday school class. I was joyful when I heard it from the lips of a young international woman that my wife and I were visiting with in our home. Every time this question is asked, I trust that the Spirit of God is behind it. “Why did Jesus have to die?” is asked so that the questioner can be ushered past all distractions and side issues and be shown the very core of the Christian faith and the glory of God in all its blazing radiance.


Let’s first be clear about one thing. Jesus did not “have to” die. Jesus said “I lay down my life that I may take it up again … I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:17-18). There was no force outside of the attributes and character of the triune God that put Jesus death under compulsion. It was the will of God. It was the love of God. It was the justice of God. It was the wrath of God against sin. It was the holiness of God. It was the mercy of God. It was all exaltation of all of these attributes of God that caused Jesus to willing sacrifice Himself in death on the cross. Scripture is clear. He willingly died in our place so that God may be glorified (Hebrews 2:12).


And yet, Jesus’ death needed to happen because God had declared that this is how sin was going to be dealt with, how righteousness was going to fulfilled, how death was going to be vanquished and eternal life was going to be granted. The only just outcome for sinning against a holy God is death (Romans 6:23). God could have demonstrated His holiness and His justice by wiping out all of humanity for our collective and individual rebellion against Him. But the death and eternal torment in hell of all of humanity would not have demonstrated His other attributes. God’s lovingkindness, His mercy, and His love could be glorified through the reconciliation of sinners to Him.


So, then Jesus became the substitute for those sinners. Because of His true humanity He could pay for human sin and because of His true deity He could bear the punishment for sin (Hebrews 2:17; Acts 2:24). He died in our place so that we may never bear the price of our sin (Hebrews 9:22; Ephesians 1:7). He died so that we may receive the undeserved righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died so that we can be made right with God (Romans 5:10). He died so that we can receive eternal life (John 10:28).


If you’ve let the contemplation of this question slide to the back of your mind so that it is some basic truth that you’ve moved past, then return to contemplating this truth. The truth of the gospel is the very center our faith and the reality of mankind. Visit this truth every day of your life. Grow in a full and rich understanding of “Why Jesus had to die for you?”. Then prepare yourself to answer that question for others.



We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  He who knew no sin died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures.  Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into Heaven, where at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Advocate.  (Is. 7:14Mt. 1:18-25;  Lk. 1:26-36;  Col. 2:9;  1 Jn. 5:20;  Mk. 10:45;  Heb. 2:9;  Lk. 24:23-40;  1 Cor. 15;  Acts 1:1-111 Pet. 3:221 Jn. 2:2Heb. 4:167:25)



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